Happy November! Time’s been flying past, and although I’ve been meaning to write about pre-Halloween festivities on campus, the holiday itself has already slipped past me (thanks to two midterms, a project, and a lab report… at least next week will be low-key).

The weekend of the 26th, as the last available October weekend, was jammed with awesome stuff going on all over the 5Cs – pumpkin carvings, massive parties, a fall Farm Festival, movie screenings… you name it, it was here, just about. But one highlight of the weekend happened Friday: the Masquerade Ball.

The Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company (CCBDC) hosted the Ball, open to students of all seven Claremont schools as well as the wider community. I’m enrolled in two ballroom dance classes, so attendance was mandatory for me, but I would have gone anyways, because COME ON.

The evening started with a beginner’s tango lesson. If you’ve never seen tango, search some videos, because it’s gorgeous. We actually learned a fair amount – the basic step, and a few fancier moves – and though it requires practice, I can now tango! I still step on my partner’s toes and occasionally come close to falling over, but at least the fantastically talented student teachers gave me something to aspire to.

After the lesson was over, social dance started! The DJ played a mix of music representing the many common social dance styles – salsa, cha cha, East and West Coast swing, blues, waltz, and of course, tango. Towards the end of the evening, there were even contra and polka dances! There were people of all skill levels, both relative newbies like me and very experienced dancers who dominated the floor. Much like with tango, I could be my own bumbling self while enjoying the proficiency of the people around me. Everyone was just there to have fun.

The demonstrations came next. It was the first chance for CCBDC’s new members to perform for an audience, and they were amazing. There were short choreographed dances in many of the styles we had just been doing; that’s standard dance, more like Dancing with the Stars, as opposed to the casual unchoreographed social dance the rest of us were doing.

Overall, the 5Cs have a very active dance community. I’m becoming more involved, but they welcome every skill level, every kind of dance, and any time commitment. CCBDC hosts at least three big events like this each semester with lessons in standard dance, team demonstrations, and social dancing. There are also a variety of other organizations which host lessons and dances. For instance, Underground Blues (check out their Facebook) hosts blues lessons + social dance for three to four hours Saturday nights, while Claremont Swing (and theirs) does the same on Saturday afternoons.

If you want more pictures of the evening, check out CCBDC’s Facebook album for the event!